Kim Wilde in Utrecht; dancing to ‘Kids In America’ again like in the old days

‘Nostalgia’. That is the word that matters. Kim Wilde, in the eighties the Princess of Pop, knows exactly how it works: “If I went to a performance by an artist like myself, so from someone who grew up in the eighties, I would want to hear all the greatest successes of that time.”

On Saturday evening the British singer, 57 years old, is in the Rondazaal of TivoliVredenburg. With the best show she has ever put on stage, according to Kim Wilde herself. “And I’ve never had as much fun as I had now, with touring and playing live with a band. Many times more fun than it ever was for me in the eighties.”

The eighties

The eighties are completely back on the pop venues of our country. Not to say that they are true gold mines. The recent programming of TivoliVredenburg also shows that old hits and their interpreters apparently do well. Doe Maar, Level 42, Rick Astley, The Human League, Echo and the Bunnyman, Spandau Ballet, they are all big names from thirty years ago.

Some have remained large. Others have spent all these years in smaller rooms and with varying degrees of success. Still others have revived their careers with a youthful reincarnation of the band of yesteryear. And if the artists do not (or can not) go on, or have left their lives, there is still a choice of tribute bands that play the halls: musical tributes to Led Zeppelin, Genesis, U2, Abba, Bruce Springsteen, Dire Straits, Roxette, to name a few.

The public asks for it. Thijs van der Krogt is pop programmer at TivoliVredenburg: “Audiences older than forty has generally money to spend. The children have grown up and no more such obstructions. Besides money, this group also has time to do something fun. A bite to eat in the city, for example, and then with friends to a nice concert. They think it’s fantastic to be with the old group of friends again with that same artist as in the eighties.”

In the cinema, Bohemian Rhapsody is currently running, the film about Queen and singer Freddie Mercury. Also such an icon from the eighties. Madonna, Michael Jackson, Prince, these are the other pop names carved in the soul of everyone who was young in the eighties. In the cinema, films such as Spetters, Schatjes, Flodder and Ciske de Rat were played. Ruud Lubbers was our prime minister, there was a crisis and tight budget cuts were made. Aids was on the rise, the Cold War was still raging. Kees van Kooten and Wim de Bie came up with the word ‘doom thinking’. In pop music the synthesizer made its appearance and the pessimistic sounds of the punk made way for more color and melody in rock and new wave. On the wave of the last movement, Kim Wilde surfaced. Her first hit, Kids In America, dates from 1981.

Kim Wilde: “The eighties were also the years of endless television appearances and of continuous promotional performances for the albums we made. MTV had become enormously important, you had to make video clips for that. With that outward show we were constantly busy, I traveled the whole world for it. The record company wanted it. Playing live, not much came of it, there was simply no time for it. As a result, frankly, I could not develop as well as I wanted.”

To refresh

Just as the forty plus audience likes to pay for an evening of youth sentiment, artists also like to return from obscurity to the period of their greatest successes. Van der Krogt: “In the past you brought out a greatest hits album to get the spotlight back on yourself. But who is buying a CD these days? In the past it was quite normal that an artist with his newest single came to perform in a big television show on Saturday night. But you do not see that nowadays anymore. There is not much else left for such an artist, than to go find his audience and go on tour again.”

Kim Wilde became world famous with songs like Cambodia, Checkered Love and Never Trust A Stranger. She toured in 1988 with Michael Jackson who released his album ‘Bad’. But she retired from the music scene in the nineties, became a mother and threw herself into gardening – she even got a program on BBC television.


In 2003 she made her comeback. “Now I am on stage myself more than ever. We released a new CD this year, ‘Here Come The Aliens’. As far as sound is concerned, it listens as a homage to the pop of the eighties. Of course the audience wants to hear Cambodia and I sing Kids In America. But the fans also have an ear for the new music.”

As a little girl Kim Wilde looked with admiration at her father Marty Wilde. “‘Such a singer as he is, I want to be myself later’, I thought to myself. He is now almost eighty and is still performing. His voice is still as powerful. Isn’t that beautiful? What does age really mean? I myself have only grown, just by playing a lot live. That is still the best thing there is.”